Victor Grayson’s life may have been short but it was certainly action-packed. Born in the slums of Liverpool, a bright lad, he served an engineering apprenticeship before becoming captivated by religion. He began preaching in non-conformist churches before training as a Unitarian minister and attending Manchester University. His interest switched to politics and, in 1907, aged 25, he shook the British Establishment when he won the Colne Valley by-election as a socialist with active support from the Suffragettes.
The 1910 election saw him lose his seat but split the Labour Party in the process. He then married an actress, travelled to Australia and New Zealand, where he joined the Anzac Forces and sailed for France. Wounded at Passchendaele, he was invalided out of the army. In 1918, his wife died tragically giving birth to their second daughter.
Victor’s lifestyle became even more luxurious before, one afternoon in September 1920, he walked out of his apartment and disappeared. Despite many reported sightings, his disappearance remains a mystery.
First published by Quartet Books in 1985 as Victor Grayson: Labour’s Lost Leader, the book has been fully revised, rewritten and updated, with significant additions and new illustrations – the result of the author’s tireless research over the last 30 years.